Alabama court upholds longtime sheriff’s felony convictions

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A state appeals court has upheld the felony convictions of a man who served 38 years as a sheriff in a northern Alabama county.

In Friday’s unanimous decision, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals also denied former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s request for a new trial, AL.com reported.

“This evidence was sufficient for the jury to conclude that Blakely acted with intent to use his public office for personal gain,” presiding judge Mary B. Windom wrote.

Blakely was removed from office in August 2021, a jury found him guilty of theft and abuse of office. Prosecutors said the theft charge related to accusations that he deposited $4,000 in campaign funds in his personal account. The abuse of power charge related to Blakely borrowing money from a prison safe that held inmates’ money.

Prosecutors said Blakely received $29,050 in interest-free loans from the vault. Blakely’s lawyers argued that no inmate had ever been deprived of money.

The trial judge sentenced him to three years. Blakely remains on bond and can ask the Alabama Supreme Court to reconsider the case.

Blakely’s attorneys argued in the appeals court that the state failed to provide sufficient evidence that he intentionally used his office for personal gain.

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